entertaining - best strategies

Plan ahead for wonderful visits with your guests. here are some of my tried and true entertaining tips.


1    Go for balance in terms of food and guests – you need at least one fun outgoing person and you need a menu that will delight and tantalize but not weigh your guests down. Think plenty of food, but light. Also better to have plenty of a few things rather than a whole buffet of smaller items – e.g. have the confidence to serve poached salmon new potatoes and steamed asparagus – just that, you don’t need anything more – less is more when it comes to menus.


2    Balance menu – don’t start with a cream soup followed by creamy pasta followed by cheesecake.


3    Forget fiddly food with drinks, serve a soup instead


4     Feed people earlier and if they stay longer fine, but sitting around with drinks can go on for too long and people fill up on nibbles.


5    Don’t think you have to do it all yourself – its ok to buy the ingredients for an antipasti platter or a fruit tart from the bakery for dessert.


6     Always have a few essentials in the freezer for emergency entertaining – vanilla ice cream for dessert and a seafood marinara mix or frozen shrimp with pasta works in minutes


7    Remember when people serve the tea and coffee you have 20 mins before the time you should leave – just check your watch – tea and coffee means the evening is drawing to a close.


8     Send food home with guests – often I parcel up extra (I always cook too much) and instead of a sea of left-overs – send the pudding or the soup home with a guest that you know will enjoy it.


9     Don’t try a new recipe out on guests its tantamount to disaster – better to serve them something you are confident with and don’t complicate your menu – if really pushed fish and a salad followed by cheese is ideal


10     Remember its better to be fun and relaxed than over-tired and stressed from a day in the kitchen under pressure – ALWAYS the company is far more important than the food.  I have had amazing dinners in formal situations and not such great food in fun situations, and believe me the fun people with OK food is so much better.